Simply Said
Simply Said
Simply Said is the essential handbook for business communication.

Giving Thanks in the Workplace


Simple ways to show appreciation to employees, colleagues, and customers or clients

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday because its purpose is so simple – on the last Thursday in November we step out of the rhythm of our daily lives to give thanks. Together with family and friends, we reconnect, share stories, overindulge in great food and watch far too many hours of football. We show those in our personal life our appreciation by giving them our time and attention.

How do we show those we work with our appreciation? And why is it so important this year to express our thanks to our employees, colleagues, clients and vendors?

With unemployment rates at over 10%, companies are asking a smaller workforce to accomplish the same tasks completed by a larger number of employees in previous years. Your colleagues are juggling a greater number of assignments; you are asking your vendors to deliver more for less and your customers and clients are struggling with the same issues.

Showing appreciation will help you ameliorate the stress, strengthen loyalty and build a stronger professional community. Given the likelihood that you have limited time and funds, here are some simple, free ways to extend your thanks.

For Employees and Colleagues:

Acknowledge Others with an “Applause, Applause” – Whenever someone on your team steps in for someone else, stays late to help a client, or completes an assignment with ease and without fanfare, take a moment to applaud that person in a public way. At Exec-Comm we include “Applause, Applause” as an agenda item at the end of each meeting. Not only does the consistency of this agenda item allow us to say thanks to a co-worker, it also reminds us to mentally note positive actions we observe during the month and share them with the group when we gather for the meeting.

For our colleagues who work remotely, we send a quick e-mail or voice mail message to the team to acknowledge this individual. Be sensitive, however. Not everyone likes the public spotlight. For those individuals, write a personal note and, when appropriate, also include a note to his or her manager or to the HR department requesting they add your acknowledgement to the individual’s file.

Share Quarterly “WOW” Awards – At Exec-Comm, “WOW” awards are given to team members who have gone Way Out of their Way to help someone else. During each quarter, team members complete a brief WOW award form and at the end of the quarter the awards are shared with the group. If your department collects mileage points, or other low cost perks, you can share these with WOW recipients at the end of the year.

For Customers and Clients:

Write Personal Thank You Notes – As you think about the companies that give you business, consider the client relationship managers and their support team members. At the very least, send an email expressing your appreciation and whenever possible, write a personal note of thanks.

Keep the note short, personalize it and be sure to let the recipient know how their actions have helped you deliver on your promise to them. Whenever possible, copy their manager as well.

Invite Your Client to be a Guest Speaker - Do you belong to an association that might benefit from your client’s business expertise? Connect with the organization and then invite your client to address the group. Be sure to introduce the client yourself and give the audience one or two sentences explaining the value you know they will gain from listening to your client’s remarks. After the event, write a personal note of thanks to your client (and again, let your client’s senior management know of your client’s contribution to your group).

With Every Thank You:

No matter who you’re thanking, keep in mind these simple tips for success:

  • Offer specifics and personalize your remarks. “Great job” is nice but vague. Replace a perfunctory remark with a personal approach, such as: “Joe, you did a great job not only leading the project, but taking the time to consider the needs of every team member. Thanks, for a job well done!”
  • Say thank you with complete sincerity. No one likes glad-handing. When offering thanks in person, look the individual in the eyes and speak slowly, with warmth in your voice and openness in your facial expression. Remember to smile!

Finally, for most of us, complaining about what others do wrong comes fairly easily – remembering to say thank you for the great things people do well slips from our memory as we rush through our day. Remember to take a few moments to extend your appreciation; the rewards will be timeless.

And now, our thanks to you! We appreciate the time you’ve taken this year to read and pass along our Substance & Style™ newsletters. Thank you for your support! We look forward to bringing you helpful, timely topics in 2010.

In the meantime, if you would like to share the unique, cost effective ways you’ve shown your appreciation to employees, colleagues and clients, please contact us here:

Best Regards,

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